Friday, July 31, 2015

A Wrench in the Works

OMG she is posting during the week!  Alert the media!  Well what can I say, when the muse strikes I write.

Off from work today and so it will be a full day of stuff to do.  Making the most of this time.  No one has to be anywhere except Dh and that's good cause the little Honda had to go into the shop for today.  I have to give him (the little Honda) kudos cause he waited til we had the truck back, but little guy needed breaks and rotors on the front end.  Our mechanic is near here so I dropped the car off this morning and Dh brought me back before going to work.  Fortunately, if this had to happen, I'm glad it happened  now. We have three paychecks this month, we had money in the car fund, the truck is back, and no one needs to go anywhere today.  The final bill for this repair was only $203.00.  My original plan, cause you get driven to pay it off, was to muster every available cent, including the car fund, to pay it off.  I then would have paid the car fund back with the next check.  This won't happen now, but it will still be paid off on time.  Just not early.  Oh well "All the best laid plans" you know.  But it's all good.

My dtr and I were talking yesterday about budgeting and such.  I told her to make sure she budgeted for bad things to happen.  Dave Ramsey says if you budget for Murphy he will leave you alone and bother your neighbor.  So I am budgeting for Murphy.  I told her she should as well.  One of the best feelings in the world is to be able to not sweat the unexpected because you are ready for it.  No one knows when an unexpected event will know...cause...they're unexpected.  You can guarantee they will happen, so plan for it.

On the gardening front.  Let me tell you, there is such a sense of satisfaction in harvesting food from your back yard.  Not just satisfaction, but...dare I say it?....well, yes, outright defiance.  A shaking of your fist to "the man".  To know you can skip buying things at the grocery store and paying their prices because you took the time to grow it at home.  It's a great feeling to be sure.  Yesterday I went out to the garden and brought in corn, tomatoes (of course) and eggs from our chickens.  It's neat!  Really!  Now I can't be totally defiant cause there are still things I need at the store (shhh so don't tell them what I said.  Lol), but little by little I make more things at home and buy less things at the store.  That is awesome!

In addition to saving at the grocery store, I am proud to announce our power bill was $50 less this year than last year, and that is with this summer being hotter (way hotter) than last year.  My goal each month is to keep that power bill down even more.  Next month, when home, I will begin to hang clothes on the line again.  Love doing that anyway.  Makes me feel so Pioneery.

My ultimate goal is to make the income Dh brings in go farther.  Pinch that penny til he screams!  I can't wait for the ultimate frugal challenge to begin.  Me vs the bills.  Epic!  Epic!  I can confidently say I will win, the question is by how much!

So there you go.  What's going on with you?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Got the truck back can I get a Hallelujah!

Finally!  After 2 months of waiting and waiting we finally, on Thursday,  got our truck back from the mechanic.  They ended up rebuilding the engine to the tune of $2600.  Still cheaper than going into debt to buy another car.  The mechanic feels like the truck is in really good shape.  Aside from the engine rebuild he found nothing else really wrong with the truck.  He had done some work on the truck for the previous owner, but had no record of any transmission service being done.  As a result he thought it prudent to have a service done on the transmission just to make sure.  Aside from that we're good.  He says it's running great.  We still have money set aside for the truck and so will look into the transmission service and getting new tires.  I have no delusions about the future in regards to our motor vehicles.  I know things break and the time comes to purchase another new(to us) car.  We don't buy brand new.  Just doesn't happen.  We buy used cars so I have no need to save tens of thousands of dollars.  However, my goal now and in the foreseeable future is to put back some of our savings each month to a car account.   This account will be used for either car repairs or a car purchase further down the line.  My goal is to never go into debt to purchase another car.  I make no promises, but that is my goal.

My life is work and tomatoes.  More tomatoes than anything else.  I have just come in from about 4 hours in the garden picking, weeding, tying up and cutting back tomatoes.  Some of my plants have out and out died due to the hot weather we've been having.  This is par for the course.  Happens every year.  They will start to come back in August as the temps moderate a little, and then I will have these large gorgeous tomatoes that never get a chance to ripen.  For this reason, if there is no new growth on the plants right now, I get the good tomatoes and up it comes to make way for something else productive.  Ironically the tomato plants with new growth are the one type of plant I really don't need...namely cherry tomatoes.  They love all this weather and have no problem continuing to produce.  Corn is starting to come in and I need to pick it yesterday.  It was on my list of things to do today.  I will get to it I hope tonight when it cools off some.

My gardening "second wave" will begin August 15th.  That day I plan to plant more beans both green beans and pinto beans, and  more squash.  I will be starting cabbage plants sooner than that.  Sept first will be my day to plant spinach, lettuce, and my cabbage seedlings.  The tomatoes will still be going as well until the first frost (Oct 31st) and right before our first freeze I will be digging sweet potatoes.  I can keep this gardening thing going a while if I have the time and inclination.  Probably by the first freeze I will be ready for a break.  Christmas will be on the way and that takes a lot of my time as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I found a little friend in my garden today

Hot here.  Really hot.  In order to garden at all I am forced into either working in the garden early early in the morning or late in the evening right before dark.  Morning work is only feasible on the weekends due to my job and so for the most part I get about 45 minutes in the evening.  As a result of my lack of time in the garden, the weeds have run amok.  So this morning DH and I got outside early, bout 8-ish.  I started at one end and started working away.  Step by step.  Little by little, I reclaimed my raised beds and a few of the rows.  I still have much more to do, but was finally driven indoors about 11am.  During the coarse of my work, while raking up some pine straw in order to till, I discovered a little turtle guy.  Unfortunately I delayed getting my camera and he moved homes.  Drat!

It's a good thing I raked up the straw prior to tilling cause he would have been in bad shape.  As it was this little guy just looked at me like "Hey whatcha doin.  Give me back my cover!".  I took him and put him in a raised bed I had already completed.  I laid down a pan of water which he drank and then he promptly found another bit of pine straw and dug himself under it.  He has been there all day.  I checked on him this evening and there he was quite contented in his new straw cover.  He's a funny little thing.  Most turtles will go into their shell when you pick them up, but he didn't.  As I moved  him around he was more like "where we goin?".  Just along for the ride.

Another little buddy I found was a surprise snow pea volunteer.  I know!  90 degrees outside and there he is just happy as you like.  I was clearing out the area where the snow peas had been planted in early spring.  I had let the rest of the pods go to seed and so was collecting the pods from the now gone plants.  There he was under some plants.  Well at least I know the seeds will germinate.  I told  him he could stay and covered him some with straw to protect him a bit.  You know since I took his cover away too.  Mean ole gardening lady takin everyone's shade away.  How dare she!  The little guy didn't stay mad long cause something ....ate him.  (sigh) yea.  Dh says it was probably the turtle.
I like to think it was a bunny.  We all have our delusions.

Also on the garden front.  I'm in the process of back to back tomato sauce making/canning.  I have about 3 gallons of ready tomato sauce in the freezer to can, but since I'm out of room in my freezer for the moment, I'm finishing each batch now from start to canning completion.  I made 8 half pint jars of pizza sauce yesterday and have enough for probably another 18 half pint jars. I also have enough raw tomatoes in my dining room to do another 4 batches.  I have more tomatoes in  the garden to pick.  I need 52 half pint jars of pizza sauce and would like 52 quarts of spaghetti sauce for the year.  I'll take what I can get.

Never a dull moment her on the homestead.  Dull would be nice.  It would mean I was looking for something to do.  On a happy for me note, tomorrow marks the 6 week mark til my last day at my outside the home job.  I can't wait.  On another note in 2 weeks we will make our last credit card payment!!!!!!!!!  So excited.

So that's all the news here!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Apparently, we're having a yard sale

So in the spirit of all things organizational, my mom has been going through everything in her home to take to the trash, Good Will, or sell in a Yard Sale.  She is a woman on a mission.  Not to say shes determined or anything, but when she comes in the room my dad sits reeeeal still.

Anyway!  She is tentatively planning a yard sale in Oct.  As a result my sister and I are planning to join her.  I haven't officially started going thru closets and what not to take out yard sale items, but someone in my family has.  As a result I am going thru and organizing his stuff.  My wonderful youngest son Rubic.  He had a day off from work and got a wild hair to go thru everything in his room and anything he wasn't enthusiastic about was taken out.  Unfortunately this went into the Living Room.

 Before I began to nicely stack these items back into his room to await the yard sale day, I began to go thru everything putting like pieces together.  Yea.  I probably have 10 lbs of Lego pieces.  Good news for those is my sister has already purchased them.  Bad news for son is my service fee of 20% of what he makes in the  yard sale.  If I am doing the work Mama gonna get PAID!

Since I really don't have a lot of free time to go thru my own things, that will wait until September.  Then I will begin going thru closets and what not to gather items I want to turn into cash.  In the mean time I do a mental tally of what has served its purpose.  Those are usually items visible to the eye and so easy to decide what to do with them.

Many would ask why would I thrift store shop only to turn around and sell other items in a Yard sale.  My response would be the items I have found at the thrift store are replacing some of the items being sold.  Other items have served their purpose and I no longer need them.  I would rather have the space.  Same reasons for anyone else who has a yard sale except I didn't pay retail.  Yay me.

Other news on the home front;  The garden is coming along.  It's more manageable now that the beans are done for the moment.  I'll plant more in about a month.  In the mean time what seems to be coming in are tomatoes.  Tomato sauce is easy to make; Wash and cook tomatoes, run through a food mill, let the sauce cook down til thick as you like.  Voila!  I then freeze the sauce until I have enough for a full canner.  Right now I have 4 quarts ready to can and am making more today.  I'll probably have the 8 quarts needed for my canner by the end of the day, and a beginning on the new canner batch by the end of tomorrow.  I need an estimated 78 quarts for the year.  That's what uhhhhh bout six and a half canners?  After that I'll focus on things like Salsa, BBQ sauce, Chili, and Hot sauce in that order.  If I run out of tomatoes those items won't get made.  My greatest need is the sauce.  I can do what I can (no pun intended) and that's all I can do.    Black berries are coming in like crazy, but do seem to be tapering off for the season.  I have about 2+ gallons of black berries so far.  Plenty for jams and jellies this year.  The corn will be here soon and then of course what I plant in a month should continue my garden thru Oct; some things maybe longer.

I can't help but be counting down til my last day at my away from home job.  Seven weeks from Monday.  WOOHOO!  In my head I have organized and cleaned every inch of this house.  I can't wait til I can make it a reality as well as all the other things I want to accomplish.  We've paid the last credit card down by half these last three payments.  Three more payments over the next 5 weeks will pay it off.  I'm sittin on ready.   Each payday I anticipate making another payment and am constantly watching the account to see it post.  A thrill to be sure.  When the day comes that the card is paid off finally I will be beyond crazy happy.

I encourage anyone who has any debt to do what has to be done to be free from it as soon as possible.   Proverbs is right when it states that the "borrower is slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).  Once free from debt you make your own decisions based on what is best for you and your family; not on what you owe.  Very freeing.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I Gots Stuff

Forgive me,  but I'm just now this week beginning to unpack the suitcase from our trip to Tybee.  No dirty laundry mind you, and we have been pulling stuff from the suitcase all week to wear, but today is the official unpacking and putting away of said suitcase.  In the mean time this week I've accumulated more things to put away.  So today is not just a unpack the suitcase kind of day, but also a "find a place for everything" kind of day.

First off, I've become the peripheral beneficiary of my sisters gastric bypass surgery.  For now anyway.  My hope is once Sept comes and my schedule becomes less crazy, I'll be able to focus on getting healthier again.  My current job is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle;  too much stress, and too sedentary.  But until that time comes, she's given me all of her clothes that she won't be able to wear.  I'm set for winter and some of summer.  Yay me!  Everything from Pj's to sweaters, jackets, etc.

Then this past week my sister and my mom went thru some of my grandmothers boxes in my mom's basement.  Some stuff went to Good Will, some in the trash (papers.  My grandmother held onto everything), and some things handed down.  My sister and I spent part of our Thursday together going thru more boxes.  It was nice being able to see my grandmothers handwriting (on anything available to write on) making notes on some recipe or sewing pattern.  We took into our home things for Christmas, sewing items, linens, etc.  I was able to see her wedding dress.  It is a beautiful dress, dark blue velvet with butterfly buttons, though moth eaten now and not salvageable.  My sister is going to save the buttons though.  As we went thru the boxes, we each discussed what her thoughts were at that time, what she was planning,  We saw where my grandparents had gone to a China Exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta.  She saved everything from that evening.  The two things we couldn't figure out;  a stack (and I do mean stack) of packaged jingle bells, and an entire box of Christmas center pieces.  We think maybe she was hosting a Christmas party?  Not sure.  All in all we had a great time Going thru everything.

So if that wasn't enough, and remember now I've spent no money, we went to our favorite thrift store, The Ric Rac.  You would think with all the stuff I already had accumulated, I wouldn't need anything.  Well you would be wrong!  Well, I didn't need it in the urgent sense, but it was on my list.  I found a couple of books for $1 each, a nice size shower caddy (which I did need) for $3, a 4 cup coffee maker for $4, an in the box new porcelain bathroom sink set ( soap dish, lotion dispenser, etc)for $3, and my greatest finds?  A recliner in great condition which matches my rooms for $30, and 2 solid wood Step Tables (mom told me what they are) for $5 each!  The tables are now night stands in our room.  Once I'm home, I plan to refinish them, but for now they're in good shape.  I've wanted a recliner for Dh man cave for a while, but can't afford new.  Problem solved.

So now I am finding a place for everything, as well as the gardening stuff.  I pulled up the last bean plants of this planting and have canned them up.  I got 50 pints of beans not counting the ones we ate fresh.  Not too shabby.  I'll plant another round middle of August.  I need another 50 at least.  Tomatoes and Blackberries are coming in, but they are easier to put up than beans.  Kinda nice having beans done for now.

So there  you go.  Not a barn burner, but there tis.  Hope you guys have a great day!